Remarks by the President at Rally for HFA and Senate Candidate Catherine Cortez Masto
Cheyenne High School
North Las Vegas, Nevada
4:47 P.M. PDT
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, Nevada! (Applause.) Hello, Cheyenne High School! (Applause.) Oh, it is good to be back in Nevada! (Applause.) I heard the other guy was trying to tell you how to say Nevada. You remember that?
THE PRESIDENT: Can't do it. (Laughter.) I am so glad to be back here -- I've got so many good friends. (Applause.) I am so blessed to be here. I'm glad to be back at this outstanding high school. (Applause.) Thank you for hosting us. I've got some really, really good friends here, folks who supported me when nobody could pronounce my name. (Laughter.) But some of my friends everybody here knows because they’ve been friends to everybody in Nevada. And so I want to just make sure to give them a shout-out. First --
AUDIENCE MEMBER: I love you!
THE PRESIDENT: I love you back. (Applause.)
First and foremost -- first and foremost, somebody who has been not just an outstanding elected official, but he has been my friend. I could not have gotten done any of the things I got done had it not been for him getting my back every step of the way. (Applause.) I love this guy. He has always stood up for Nevada first. (Applause.) He’s stood up for working people. He’s never forgotten where he came from. Give it up for your Senator, Harry Reid. (Applause.) I love Harry Reid. (Applause.) I love his wife, Landra, more because she’s even more loveable. (Laughter.)
I also want to make sure that you are turning out to make sure that we get a couple of outstanding members back in the House of Representatives. (Applause.) Jacky Rosen -- (applause) -- and Ruben Kihuen. (Applause.) And along with electing those two outstanding officials to Congress, we've got to make sure that your next United States senator is Catherine Cortez Masto! (Applause.)
AUDIENCE MEMBER: I love you!
THE PRESIDENT: I love you back. I love you guys so much. (Applause.) I do. (Applause.)
So I was driving over here and going through -- we didn’t drive right through the Strip, but we drove passed the Strip. And it made me think that Vegas is a place where people are always looking to improve their odds. (Applause.) I notice my staff never complains about a trip to Vegas. (Laughter.) But I’m here right now to tell you that you’ve got a sure thing. You’ve got the winning hand. (Applause.) You’ve got Blackjack. (Applause.) And the way to do it, the way to make sure that you win this hand, the way you boost Catherine’s odds of winning this election, the way you make sure that Jacky and Ruben are in Congress is to go vote! (Applause.) You got to go vote! (Applause.) You got to vote!
Here in Nevada, you don’t have to wait until November 8th. Early voting started yesterday. (Applause.) You’ve got a ace and you’ve got a jack. (Applause.) But you’ve got to make sure to turn over the card by voting! (Applause.) This game didn’t start on November 8th -- the game ends on November 8th. It's starting right now! (Applause.)
So if you need to find out where you can vote early, just go to IWillVote.com. I want everybody to say that -- IWillVote.com.
THE PRESIDENT: IWillVote.com.
THE PRESIDENT: IWillVote.com.
THE PRESIDENT: All right. Do not waste time -- vote early! (Applause.) And I need you also, because not everybody is as fired up, not everybody is as focused as you are -- I need everybody to pull out your phones, if you got it, right now. I know you guys got phones -- pull it out. (Laughter.) If you’ve got your phone with you, pull it out. Don't just save it for the selfie. (Laughter.) And text "VOLUNTEER" to 47246 -- 47246 -- that way you can sign up for a volunteer shift in the last four days. Because we're going to need to make sure everybody votes. (Applause.) I need you to make those phone calls. I need you to knock on doors. I need you to call up cousin Pooky -- (applause) -- and say, Pooky, it's time to vote. I need you to go -- (laughter) -- I need you to go call Jesse, say, Jesse, come on. Don't be sitting on the couch. It's time to vote. (Applause.) Everybody has got to vote early. That's how we won in ’08. (Applause.) That's how we won in 2012. (Applause.) That's how we're going to win in 2016. (Applause.)
Because, let’s face it, Nevada is always close. Nevada always makes you a little nervous because you kind of don't know what’s going to happen. (Laughter.) But that’s what makes it exciting. I was here in Nevada in the closing days of both my campaigns -- both times you guys came through. I turned over that card and it was an ace. (Applause.) And Michelle and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all the support and all the prayers these past eight years. (Applause.) It has been such a privilege to serve you.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: We love you! (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: But being back here in the closing days of another hard-fought campaign makes me think about how far we’ve come together. Back in ‘08, we had gone through two long wars. We were about to enter into the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes. Nevada was ground zero. You remember the housing market just collapsed. Folks were losing jobs, losing homes. On issues like health care, issues like climate change, we weren't doing anything about it, just kicking the can down the road.
And I remember -- you remember I told you now, I said, talk to Michelle, I'm not a perfect man. (Laughter.) I won't be a perfect President. But I told you I would work as hard as I could, every single day -- (applause) -- to make sure that you had a better shot in living out your dreams. (Applause.)
And eight years later, eight years later, we’ve fought our way back from recession. We have created 15 million new jobs. (Applause.) We’ve slashed our dependence on foreign oil. We've doubled our production of clean energy, including right here in Nevada. (Applause.) Got solar panels all over the place -- in part, thanks to the work that Harry did. (Applause.) Incomes went up last year more than any time since they’ve been keeping records. Poverty fell faster than any time since 1968. The uninsured rate is now at an all-time low. (Applause.) We brought our brave troops home to their families. (Applause.) We knocked out Osama bin Laden. (Applause.) Marriage equality is a reality in all 50 states. (Applause.)
High school graduation rates -- never been higher. College enrollment -- at an all-time high. By so many measures, our country is stronger, it is more prosperous, it is safer than it was eight years ago. (Applause.) But for all the progress we've made, if we don’t work as hard as we can in these next 16 days, all that progress could be out the window. Because competing for the job I currently hold, you've got a guy who proves himself unfit for this office every single day, every single way. And on the other side, you've got somebody who is as qualified as has ever run for the presidency -- Hillary Rodham Clinton. (Applause.)
And here's the thing: Presidents can’t do everything on their own. If I didn’t have Harry, then I couldn’t have gotten one what I got done. If we didn’t have Nancy Pelosi, we would not have passed so many of the laws that have benefitted millions of Americans. So we can't elect Hillary and then saddle her with a Congress that is do-nothing, won't even try to do something, won't even get their own stuff passed, much less the stuff you want passed. All they got to offer is blocking and obstructing every step of the way. We’ve got to have a Congress that’s willing to make progress on the issues Americans care about.
Here in Nevada, you’re trying to replace one of the toughest fighters I’ve ever known in Harry Reid. So you can choose somebody with a proven track record for standing up for Nevada families -- Catherine Cortez Masto. (Applause.) Because Catherine’s story is Nevada’s story. Think about it. Her grandfather comes here from Mexico, enlists in the U.S. Army, settles here in Nevada, works hard as a baker. Her dad started out parking cars at the Dunes Hotel, went on to live a life of public service. He made it possible for Catherine and her sister to get a great education.
And, Nevada, that's the kind of person you want representing you -- somebody who's not going to forget where she came from. (Applause.) Somebody who knows what it's like to work hard. Somebody who knows what it's like for an immigrant to come here and live out the American Dream. You can make her the first-ever Latina to serve in the United States Senate -- ever. (Applause.) Ever. And here's somebody who spent a career in Nevada working with Democrats and Republicans and law enforcement to do right by you and make you safer.
And meanwhile, you got her opponent, Joe Heck.
AUDIENCE: Booo --
THE PRESIDENT: Don't boo --
THE PRESIDENT: Don't boo --
THE PRESIDENT: Don't boo --
THE PRESIDENT: Somebody asked me -- he said, "I voted. Can I boo now?" (Laughter.) I said, no, no, wait until all the votes are in. Go get some more folks to vote.
But Mr. Heck, he spent his time in Washington fighting for tax breaks for oil companies and billionaires like the Koch Brothers. One of the things that's making this a tough race is they’re sending millions of dollars here to try to elect him because they know that he's going to do what they want.
So when it comes to figuring out who’s going to fight for you to make sure the economy works for you, you’ve got a choice. Think about what happened after the housing crisis. Nevada was hit harder than anybody else. Tens of thousands of foreclosures, folks underwater. What did Catherine do? One of the first attorneys general in America to stand up for families facing the hardship of foreclosure. (Applause.) Rolled up her sleeves and got to work to make sure families got help. Cares about making sure minimum wage workers get a raise. She remembers her dad trying to makes ends meet in a low-paying job. Wants to make sure women get paid the same as men for doing the same work. (Applause.) Stands up for women and girls.
Her opponent voted again and again to defund Planned Parenthood.
AUDIENCE: Booo --
THE PRESIDENT: Don't boo -- vote.
Threatened to shut down the government when he couldn’t get his way, even though thousands of Nevada women depend on Planned Parenthood for basic health care, for cancer screenings. And then, just a few weeks ago, her opponent was supporting Donald Trump, who was bragging about actions that qualify as sexual assault.
Catherine has been a national leader in the fight against sex trafficking of teenage girls and violence against women, and passed laws to make sure the penalties are tougher for predators, expanded sex offender registries, gave victims the right to sue their captors. And the other guy is supporting Donald Trump. What the heck? What the heck? Heck, no! Heck, no!
AUDIENCE: Heck, no! Heck, no!
THE PRESIDENT: Heck, no. Come on! Come on.
On issue after issue, Nevada, you’ve got a clear choice.
If you care about immigration reform, you can vote for a presidential candidate who sees immigrants only as “criminals” and “rapists” -- apparently never heard of people like Catherine's grandfather. Or you can vote for the granddaughter of an immigrant, who believes that everybody deserves a chance to contribute to this country that we love. (Applause.)
If you care about criminal justice reform and disrupting the pipeline from underfunded schools to overcrowded jails, and helping people who served their time rehabilitate themselves and become productive members of society, you can vote for an outstanding prosecutor and attorney general who’s used her power to make the justice system fairer and our people safer. Or you can vote for the other guy.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Heck, no!
THE PRESIDENT: Heck, no.
Actually, there's one other difference between the candidates. Catherine never supported Donald Trump. She never said she had “high hopes” that he would become President. Never said she'd trust his fingers on the nuclear code. Now, I understand Joe Heck now wishes he never said those things about Donald Trump. But they're on tape. They're on the record. And now that Trump's poll numbers are cratering, suddenly he says, well, no, I'm not supporting him.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Too late!
THE PRESIDENT: Too late. You don’t get credit for that. I'm being serious here. Hold on a second. I want to make a point here. I know a lot of Republicans. I've got Republican friends, I've got members of my family who are Republicans, and they don’t think the way Donald Trump does. I understand that. So I'm not generalizing about all Republicans. But here's the thing: For years, Republican politicians and the far-right media outlets have pumped up all kinds of crazy stuff about me, about Hillary, about Harry. They said I wasn’t born here. They said climate change is a hoax. They said that I was going to take everybody's guns away. They said that, when we were doing military exercises that we've been doing --
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Forever.
THE PRESIDENT: -- forever, suddenly this was a plot to impose martial law. This is what they've been saying for years now. So people have been hearing it, and they start thinking, well, maybe this is true.
And so if the world that they've been seeing is that I'm powerful enough to cause hurricanes on my own, and to steal everybody’s guns in the middle of the night, and impose martial law, even though I can't talk without a prompter -- (laughter) -- then is it any wonder that they end up nominating somebody like Donald Trump?
And the fact is, is that there are a lot of politicians who knew better. There are a lot of senators who knew better. But they went along with these stories because they figured, you know what, this will help rile up the base, it will give us an excuse to obstruct what we're trying to do, we won't be able to appoint judges, we'll gum up the works, we'll create gridlock, it will give us a political advantage.
So they just stood by and said nothing. And their base began to actually believe this crazy stuff. So Donald Trump did not start this. Donald Trump didn’t start it. He just did what he always did, which is slap his name on it, take credit for it, and promote it. That's what he does. (Applause.)
And so now -- now when suddenly it's not working, and people are saying, wow, this guy is kind of out of line, all of a sudden, these Republican politicians who were okay with all this crazy stuff up to a point, suddenly they're all walking away -- "Oh, this is too much."
So when you finally get them on tape bragging about actions that qualify as sexual assault, and his poll numbers go down, suddenly that's a deal-breaker. Well, what took you so long? What the heck? What took you so long? (Applause.) All these years -- all these years you've been idolizing Ronald Reagan, and suddenly your presidential nominee is kissing up to Vladimir Putin, a former KGB officer. You've got a bromance with him -- that was okay. You're a Republican official that says you love the Constitution, say that Harry and I are engaging in unconstitutional behavior -- power grabs, executive actions -- but you then are okay with a President who says he’d silence reporters; in a debate, says he will jail his opponent without due process; wants to deport whoever he wants; apparently has not heard of the First, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments. Why would you support him? Why didn’t you offer him your pocket Constitution, like Captain Khan’s father did, if you care so much about the Constitution? (Applause.)
All these years you've said you stand for family values. I'm sure that's what Joe Heck said -- said he stood for family values. But why didn’t you walk away months ago when you heard your nominee for President, the guy you were hoping could become President, call women “pigs,” “dogs,” “slobs”; grades them not on their character or their intelligence, but on a scale of one to ten?
You don’t have to be a husband or a father to stand up for women, for our daughters. (Applause.) You don’t have to have a disability to say it’s wrong to mock somebody with a disability. You don’t have to be Muslim to stand up for our fellow citizens who are just as patriotic as we are. (Applause.) You don’t have to be a Democrat to think there's a problem with that. You just have to be a decent human being. (Applause.) I mean it.
And now the excuse they're using for why they should be elected is, "Well, maybe we did support Trump and now we're being kind of quiet about it, but you should vote Republican anyway because we'll check Hillary's power, we'll be a counterweight." No, no, no, no, no. No. Listen, they have been in charge of Congress now for the last six years basically. And what have they gotten done?
THE PRESIDENT: How have they helped you?
AUDIENCE: No way!
THE PRESIDENT: When we tried to pass minimum wage increases, they weren't for that. They weren't for immigration reform. They are not willing to support early childhood education initiatives. Haven't built infrastructure. We could be putting guys to work right now -- and gals back to work right now -- got their hard hats on, ready to do work building Nevada, creating jobs all across this great state. They haven't done that. I've asked them.
So a vote for them is basically more gridlock. That's their argument. That's not a good argument.
AUDIENCE: Nooo --
THE PRESIDENT: On issue after issue, Catherine Cortez Masto is going to be on your side, working for you. (Applause.)
Her opponent is going to have the Koch Brothers on line one, and Donald Trump on line two. (Laughter.) When Donald creates his TV station, I'm sure Joe Heck will be up on there, giving interviews. (Laughter.)
Even after rescinding his endorsement of Trump, he said, “I want to support him, I really do.” Really? So how does that work? You're for him, but you're not for him. But you’re kind of for him. What the heck! (Laughter and applause.) You can't object to the things that Trump says and what he stands for, when he starts undermining our democracy by saying he may not even accept the results of an election --
AUDIENCE: Booo --
THE PRESIDENT: Don't boo --
THE PRESIDENT: And then say that you wish you could stick with him. That's not leadership. That’s cynical.
THE PRESIDENT: That means you’ll say anything or be anybody just to get elected, depending on what’s convenient at the time. And that's now what Nevada needs. And that's not what America needs. You need somebody who stands for principles like Catherine Cortez Masto. (Applause.) You need members of Congress with principles, like Jacky Rosen, like Ruben Kihuen. (Applause.)
And if you want that kind of representation, then you’ve got to go to IWillVote.com. And you’ve got the early vote. Because there’s only one way to lose this election -- if you fold your hand and don’t vote. You got the ace underneath, but if you don't turn it over, you’ll lose. So you got to vote.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: It's my first time voting!
THE PRESIDENT: Good! (Applause.) I'm proud of you. First time voter right here. (Applause.) We need some more first time voters. And we need some second time voters. Third, and fourth, and fifth, and sixth time voters. (Applause.) Do it big. Don't leaven any doubt. (Applause.) We don't want to leave any doubt.
Donald Trump is already talking about how the game is rigged. I got to say, that means he’s losing. (Applause.) If you start making -- if you’ve ever played a basketball game, and like halfway in the middle of the game, suddenly somebody starts saying, the refs are making me lose and I'm going to walk off the court -- (laughter) -- that means you're losing. (Applause.) And by the way, it means that you don't have what it takes to do this job, because there are a bunch of times where it gets tough. There are a lot of times where things don't go your way, and you’ve got to be able to just hang in there -- the way Harry has hung in there, the way Hillary will hang in there. (Applause.) The way Catherine will hang in there. (Applause.)
And in terms of this whole rigging thing, look, I mean, I don't have to tell you this, but I'll just go ahead and tell you anyway. (Laughter.) Your governor is a Republican. You’ve got Republican governors in almost all the swing states, like Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Georgia, Iowa. You’ve got Republican governors in Texas and Arizona. In every polling place, there are Democrats and Republicans watching how the ballots are filled out and how they’re turned in. there are Republicans and Democrats watching how they are counted. If this is rigged, boy, it would be a really big conspiracy. (Laughter.) And those folks -- the Republican governor is not going to rig an election for Hillary Clinton, or rig an election for Catherine. So forget the rigging talk.
You know what is going to win this election? You are. We have made so much progress, despite the forces of opposition and discrimination, and the politics of backlash. We have made progress. We haven't gotten everything done. We've got more work to do. There are still folks out there who are struggling. We've still got roads and airports to build. We've got young people who need more help going to college. (Applause.) We've got early childhood education programs to set up. We got more clean energy to build. (Applause.) We've got immigration laws that need to be changed so we're a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. (Applause.) We've got work to do to bring together our outstanding law enforcement officials with those who want to make sure that our law enforcement is color-blind.
We've got so much work to do. And so progress doe not stop with my presidency. It doesn’t stop when Harry Reid retires. We’re just getting started. (Applause.) We're just getting started. But we’ve got to make the right choice. Progress is on the ballot. (Applause.) Civility is on the ballot. (Applause.) Tolerance is on the ballot. (Applause.) Justice is on the ballot. (Applause.) Equality is on the ballot. (Applause.) Democracy is on the ballot. (Applause.)
My name is not on the ballot --
AUDIENCE: Nooo --
THE PRESIDENT: That's okay. That's okay. But if you want to give me and Michelle a good sendoff, then I need you to join us. If you want to give Harry Reid a good sendoff, we got to have a good turnout. (Applause.) I need you to work just as hard for Catherine Cortez Masto, and just as hard for Hillary Clinton, and just as hard for Ruben and Jacky as you worked for us. (Applause.)
I need you to knock on doors. I need you to make phone calls. I need you to talk to your friends. I need you to vote early. (Applause.)
And if you do that, we will elect Catherine Cortez Masto to be your next outstanding senator. (Applause.) We will elect Hillary Clinton to be the next President of the United States. (Applause.) We’ll show our kids that we are still the greatest nation on Earth! (Applause.) And we're just going to keep on getting better because of you!
God bless you, Vegas! Thank you. God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)
END 5:22 P.M. PDT